Energy Waste: Another Reason to Switch Cable Service Providers

Posted on June 29, 2011


Annual US Set-top Box Energy Use (Source: NRDC)

A recent report published by the National Resources Defense Council provides a catalyst for US consumers to demand change: US cable/satellite TV set-top boxes consumed as much electricity as the annual household electricity consumption of the entire state of Maryland. That amounts to a yearly consumption of 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity (equivalent to the annual output of nine average coal-fired power plants). It results in 16 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Virtually all of the set-top boxes studied were owned and installed by Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Dish Network, DirectTV, AT&T, Verizon, etc.

If you have a typical American household set up, having two or more set-top boxes and/or DVRs would waste more energy than a newly purchased full-sized refrigerator. So what can you do?

1) Switch to AT&T IPTV. Among the devices tested by NRDC, the most efficient HD-DVR tested was AT&T’s IPTV product.

2) Call your cable provider and ask them to switch to a more efficient set-sop box from Pace (the leading energy-efficient set-top product provider of Europe which also has an Americas group) OR a set-top box/DVR that meets Energy Star Version 4.0. (a voluntary version that confirms that set-top boxes can automatically enter a low-power state when no one is watching a show, or recording one.)

3) Disconnect your cable, satellite or IPTV service provide and switch to video streaming services like AppleTV (the most efficient), GoogleTV or others that enable streaming from Netflix, Hulu, and other sources.

With 80% of US Households subscribing to some type of cable TV usage (160 million set-top boxes), taking charge of your energy usage with one of the options above could save:

– $3.5 billion per year by 2020 and

– as much energy as generated by 7 large (500MW) power plants by 2020.

How many of you will accept this energy saving challenge? Your comments are welcome.


© 2011 by Ed Valdez. All rights reserved.

Posted in: Eco Leader